Written and Directed by Martin Simpson
Produced by Brian Cobb and Jonas McLallen
Co-Producer Matthew Carter
Co-Executive Producer and Cinematographer Rodrigo Vidal Dawson
Executive Producers Martin Fabinyi, Phil Hunt, Ron Saunders, Compton Ross, Martin Simpson
Celebrated artist Jack Zeffa is hired by nightclub owner Bill Kazak to paint a portrait of his beautiful but troubled wife Ruby. As Jack paints her, he and Ruby fall in love.
In the intimacy of his studio, as Jack paints Ruby, she inspires him to break from the tortured past that has been smothering his artistic capabilities. Ruby, taken seriously by a man for the first time in her life, sees a future beyond the darkness she has endured while trapped in her marriage to Kazak.
But her husband’s suspicions soon explode into violence. The lovers, fearful for their lives, fight back, hijacking Kazak’s attempt to kill them, drugging the nightclub owner and driving him into the lake in his car.
Set in a not so distant past around Sydney, Australia, ‘Indigo Lake’ has been filmed in neo-noir style. In this dark world of low angle close-ups and chiaroscuro lighting, a sexy woman and two cynical tough guys go lip to lip and toe to toe in the gritty, shadow filled night.
The dark mood has been painted in light, colour, costume and set design, to create a rich and united visual style.
A flowing camera technique of moving masters sets the pace for a wide variety of shot types. Some scenes have shot entirely in stedicam (one in a single six minute take), some entirely on sticks. Each scene has its own feel, but fits seamlessly into the mosaic of the narrative.
Style influences include noir classics like ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘Double Indemnity’, as well as neo-noirs, ‘Body Heat’, ‘Bound’, ‘Blood Simple’, ‘Gone Girl’, and ‘Two Faces of January’. But rather than being constrained by these references, ‘Indigo Lake’ has utilized the considerable strengths and brilliance of the members of our creative team to make a strong statement of its own unique style.
Vivid characters, tense structure and incisive dialogue are necessary parts of the film noir story, and on this film they are reinforced by a brilliant cast, with performances to match.
Sexy and brooding, ‘Indigo Lake’ pits two passionate, emotionally wounded lovers against a powerful adversary. Their battles uncover secrets of the past, push their physical courage to the limit and test their commitment to the death.
Jack the artist, and Ruby the nightclub owner’s wife, find psychological reflections of one another in the ghosts binding them to their pasts. Only by giving themselves fully to each other can they break free of their painful memories. Their difficulties in trusting each other, and the moral dilemma of whether murder can ever be justified, tortures the lovers until the emotionally complex denouement.
Kazak, Ruby’s powerful husband, loves his wife. Yet, determined to keep her in her gilded cage, he is oppressive and brutal. Like too many men, he deludes himself that he is doing all he can to make her happy.
The intensity of the connections between these passionate, damaged people, forced to confront the moral dilemmas of love and adultery, self-defense and murder, makes Indigo Lake an engrossing and moving film.
The state of mind of an artist in the film ‘Indigo Lake’.
The upcoming Australian thriller, ‘Indigo Lake’, is on the surface (no pun intended) a story of murderous adultery. But unlike most films in the genre, it has a deeper core, in this case about the price artists must pay to express their inner passion.
An artist is hired to make a portrait of a nightclub owner’s beautiful wife. As he paints her, he falls passionately in love. When the nightclub owner’s suspicions turn to violence, the lovers fight back, drug him, and drive him in his car into the lake. But murder’s not so easy as it’s painted…
In writer/director Martin Simpson’s film, Ruby, the beautiful but physically damaged muse, is thrust into Jack the reluctant artist’s world. Her confrontation of his chocolate box fakery offers him a way out of his complacency and mediocrity, at the price of confronting his demons. At first he avoids change, for her scars reflect his own. But passion forces him to reveal himself, and from that revelation, Ruby’s insights about his true nature convince him that only through his struggle to confront his wound from the past can the chocolate box portraitist reach the yearned for realm of what he calls ‘real art’. (As in the Hitchcockian view of the thriller world, here too, everything is about mother.)
The more Jack’s love for Ruby forces him to confront the truth of the crime that haunts his past, the more he overcomes its stultifying consequences on his life and art, and the more ‘real’ his art becomes. Even the destructive violence of his collision with Ruby’s powerful husband makes his art better by leading to the ‘Angular Fragmentation’ of the vision he has been yearning to express.
But by the end, his artistic ambitions achieved, he has paid a massive price, and is left to ponder, with the audience, the questions, ‘Is art of any value to society, and is it worth the cost to the artist?’
This movie’s obsessions with art and sex, with its lovers dreaming of a future in a place far away (in this case a mythical Paris), give the film an other-worldly quality at odds with its fast-paced-thriller guise.
Lust, murder, and the eternal triangle may be the drivers of the plot of ‘Indigo Lake’, but underneath is a compelling story of the true price of art to the artist.